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GA going online to help gamblers
Gamblers Anonymous in Scotland is stepping into the virtual world to extend its reach even further in the nation. It is planning to purchase VOIP phones that will allow members in remote areas to phone in for sessions via the Internet.
"There are people in places like Portree, Arran and parts of southern Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway who can't travel the long distances to their nearest meeting in Inverness or Carlisle," a Gamblers Anonymous spokesman said in the Sunday Herald.
The organization's solution is to roll out Skype, which will allow people to make free phone calls over the Internet to take part in counseling sessions.
The project is in its initial stages with Gamblers Anonymous preparing to buy 50 VOIP handsets to distribute to gamblers looking for help. They haven't yet decided if the organization will foot the bill for the handsets, or if the members wanting to use them will be charged for them.
The system should be easy to use though.
"The VOIP phone is just like a traditional handset, with software that is easily downloaded," the spokesman said in the Sunday Herald. "People will simply have to log on to Skype to join in GA meetings with other Skype users."
The phone sessions will include as many as 12 members at a time and work like any other GA meeting.
Scotland's GA also wants to boost its online presence in other ways. It would like to upgrade its Web site, www.gascotland.org, to include message boards for members to swap advice and support.